Design Your Company Website For Web 2.0

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In this article I will try to explain some of the basic factors to take into consideration when designing your company or personal website for web 2.0. Web 2.0 is simply a better looking, more interactive and functional way of designing and coding your website for the 'new' web.

First of all the most important factor about web 2.0 is user centred design (USD). USD simply put is determining what the most important factors on your site are, and pointing the end users' eyes to this information.

Now this can be done in a number of ways but in most cases it is done like this:

You create a strong header section for your site – this can include your company logo and your website navigation. Using typography (ie a main tagline or company slogan) in a big, bold font with the right color scheme, can be a very effective way of conveying exactly what it is your company does in a web 2.0 ways, you can also use high- impact graphics here as long as they convey your company message.

Create a main content body – this is where all your content will go. By using a content area you can maximize search engine rankings, because you now have a structured layout for the search engines to read, the most common layout is the two column centred focus layout – usually designed to fit full screen on a 1024-768 resolution and stay in the center of the screen as your resolution gets bigger. This is the best and most used form of Web 2.0 layout. The left hand column is usually used to display your main content and some interactivity, while the right column is used predominantly for interactivity like: polls, newsletters, featured products etc but you can mix and match interactivity and where it is shown as you please.

How to layout your content inside your content body – to start you can use some more typography as above, this again conveys your main service or idea, and then an introductory paragraph also in a big font – this lets your end user think you are communicating directly with him / her. Next you can add some form of interactivity – a new projects slide show or a main services slideshow work excellently – jquery is my favourite javascript library, there are so many plug-ins to choose from and is very easy to implement them into your company website . You could also use a image block with attractive high-impact graphics that draws the users attention to it – images could be for main services (ie if you have a marketing site you could use promotions, surveys and events for your image block) as long as it stands out and is attractive you can not go wrong.

Creating your footer section – usually you would use a different color for your footer, a contrasting color, again to draw the attention of the user. Inside you would put another version of your navigation, a copyright notice, a logo of your company and some more interactivity if you wish. The size of your footer will vary from project to project but big footers always work! I will list the different forms of website interactivity in the next section.

Different forms of interactivity – when including many different forms of interactivity on the site you must think about what you would want to see if your where the client. There are many different forms of interactivity, the sky is the limit but this will mostly depend on your coding skill or budget size. A few forms of interactivity are: Newsletters, testimonials or past client reviews, client polls, recent projects, Twitter and Facebook feeds, weather feeds, featured products or services, searching, members sections, blog functionality and commenting, forums, theme switching, text size and font changing, social network sharing like Digg and StumleUpon – the possibilities are really endless.

To conclude anyone can design for Web 2.0 as long as you keep a few factors in mind, which are:

1. Always make attractive looking sites – use quality high-impact graphics (spend a few dollars on good images from reputable stock image sites ie istockphoto.com), use big strong fonts, use a good color schemes, be creative and original with your designs. Your client interacts with your front-end; it is your shop window to the world and reflects your company, if this is not up to scratch you will lose your client to a competitor.

2. Try to include as much interactivity as you can – the more you engage the user on every level the more enjoyable the experience will be and this will often be the deciding factor for clients.

3. Do not overdo your content – keep things simple and attractive – most of the time less is more.

Well I hope you have found some of the points I have raised to be a help and I wish you the best of luck with the design of your new website for your company of online business.

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